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There are few historical figures better suited to the Total War series than Napoleon Bonaparte. Apart from his genius as a statesman he was an extremely talented military commander. He took France from the chaos of revolution to the brink of world domination. There are various gameplay options on offer here and you can read all about them in our Napoleon: Total War review.
In this article series we focus on the single player campaign as you take on the role of Napoleon himself and relive his historical exploits. His campaigns have been divided into chapters which consist of select snippets from his extraordinary life starting in 1778 and going through to 1815 and the Battle of Waterloo.
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Napoleon: Total War Campaign Tutorial
The first chapter in this journey is also the campaign tutorial and it serves as an excellent introduction, both to the man himself and to the game mechanics. There are a few changes from earlier releases so even Empire: Total War veterans will get something from the tutorial. It also covers the early life and rising career of our diminutive demagogue.
Covering the years 1778 to 1793 the campaign tutorial is a gentle beginning. Napoleon spent the early part of his life on his native Corsica and was packed off to the mainland for a proper education. The story unfolds via your advisor, Louis Alexandre Berthier. Your first task is to master the basic camera controls for the world map and move Napoleon to the port so he can board a ship and touch down on the continent.
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Diplomacy, Construction and Research
Once Napoleon is back on dry land the advisor sets a series of tasks designed to show off the various options open to you during the campaigns. You’ll head north and sign a trade agreement with Switzerland for a first look at the diplomacy side of the game. The next task is to head for Reims and build a college at the nearby town of Brienne. With the college built you can begin some research and you’ll find you can use a Gentleman unit to enter the college town and speed up the development of your first research target – National Debt.
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Building the Military
Capital city, Paris is next, perhaps the place Napoleon was to leave the greatest impression on. You’ll construct a cannon unit. Your first piece of artillery and indeed it was artillery placement and use that sparked Napoleon’s rise as a respected military man. You’ll move on to Dijon, recruit some infantry and then deal with your first bit of unrest as a riot breaks out in Paris.
Napoleon was virtually unbeatable on land but had less skill when it came to naval battles. Nevertheless there is a naval element to the game and you’ll have to construct a dockyard and commission a large ship to blockade a Sardinian port and sue for peace.
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Tutorial Finale at Toulon
The finale of the campaign tutorial involves sneaking a Spy unit into Toulon, building up a decent army and driving the British out. There are only a couple of infantry units camped in Toulon under a British general so you won’t need much firepower to get a victory. It is worth auto-resolving the battle as your advisor suggests because that way you’ll earn an achievement for completing a campaign by only using auto-resolve. Auto-resolve is not something you’ll want to do often in later campaigns.
With the successful capture of Toulon the tutorial ends and you can get stuck into the game proper. The next challenge that lies ahead is the fractured land of Italy and a belligerent Austrian enemy.